The recently released Samsung 980 PRO will soon be no longer the only hot kid on the PCIe 4.0 block. Indeed, Western Digital today announced, among other things, its own NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) of the same next-gen PCIe standard, the WD_BLACK SN850.
The WD_BLACK is a relatively new product line, released last August, of internal and external storage-related devices that focus on gaming. There are two things notable about them. They have unique looks — available in any color as long as it’s black — and are designed to deliver high-performance.
A gaming NVMe that looks the part
So the SN850 to have a similar look and feel to other WD_BLACK devices.
One thing is totally new, like the Samsung 980 PRO, the SN850 is the first NVMe SSD from WD that supports the latest PCIe 4.0 4-lane (x4) standard. As a result, per the vendor, it’s capable of delivering up to 7,000 MB/s of raw bandwidth and up to 100K IOPS in random access.
What makes SN850 different from the Samsung 980 PRO is probably the fact it’s available in standard (“naked”) and heatsink versions. The later comes with a bright status light to shine inside a gaming rig, especially one with a clear side panel. In other words, it’ll look the part.
You can expect it to be a major upgrade to the existing SN700 with likely double the performance. The new drive is backward compatible with PCIe 3.0, by the way.
New PCIe 3.0 add-on card and portable docking station
Other than the SN850, WD also announced today the WD_BLACK AN1500 NVMe SSD Add-in-Card. As the name suggests, it’s NVMe SSD storage attached to a PCIe 3.0 add-on card that you can add to any existing desktop computer.
But there’s a lot more to the AN1500. It uniquely comes with two NVMe drives in RAID 0 and uses PCIe Gen3 x8 to deliver up to 6500MB/s of raw bandwidth. What’s more, it comes with customizable RGB lighting that you can change to fit your game mood.
And finally, also announced today is the WD_BLACK D50 Game Dock NVMe SSD. This is a Thunderbolt 3-compatible external enclosure with a built-in 1GB SSD on the inside. They then can use it to store gaming-related data to improve the load time and performance.
On top of that, the dock also has a bunch of peripheral ports including three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (2x USB-A and 1x USB-C), two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort, and one Gigabit network port.
Pricing and availability
WD says the WD_BLACK SN850 SN850 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD is available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities. You can buy the naked version this month, with the pricing starts at $150. The heatsink version won’t ship until the first quarter of 2021.
The WD_BLACK AN1500 NVMeSSD Add-in-Card is available now 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities with the cost starting at $300.
Finally, the WD_BLACK D50 Game Dock NVMe SSD is now available for pre-order at $500. There’s also a non-SSD option that costs $320.